Licensing illegality

The Washington Post reports that Governor Davis signed into law the measure he had vetoed twice before authorizing illegal immigrants to obtain California driver’s licenses. With the enactment of this measure, the California recall appears calculated to produce a long train of evils culminating in the retention of Davis or the election of the Cruzinator.
With our distance from California, it is difficult to have any feel for the events transpiring in the free-for-all. In the San Francisco Chronicle Debra Saunders has an excellent column this morning (courtesy of RealClearPolitics) noting the role reversal occurring between Davis and Bustamante in the course of the campaign. In the new issue of the Weekly Standard Noemie Emery has an article (“Conan the Resuscitator,” unavailable to nonsubscribers) premised on Arnold’s strength as a gubernatorial candidate, a proposition for which she offers no evidence.
Emery, however, does offer interesting observations on the dynastic decline of the Kennedys: “In retrospect, Chappaquiddick can be seen as the incident that broke the Kennedy story in half, marking off the heroic age before it from the decadent one that came after. Ted Kennedy has not moved beyond the Senate, to which he was elected at 30, and no member of the third generation has yet made it to the Senate or into a governor’s mansion. Many members of this generation are living blameless lives in worthwhile pursuits, but the Kennedys who made news in recent decades have often seemed up to no good: in headlines and trouble for bullying wives, seducing friends’ children, trashing yachts, shoving security guards at the airport, having drug problems, standing trial for rape. Stories about them now read like the Judith Krantz genre.
“But even if Ted Kennedy had made it over Dike Bridge, even if his nephews had said no to drugs and to danger, the Kennedy project would still have been in for lean times. While being a bad example in the deportment department, Ted Kennedy led his heirs off on a leftward vector that carried them out of the national mainstream, making them unelectable on the national level, and in all but a handful of states. As a result, John Kennedy’s pledge to ‘bear any burden and pay any price’ is closer in spirit to the modern Republican party, and his signature call to give more to your country than you try to take from it has been recast by his heirs to mean there is nothing too much you can ask from your country, which owes you more than you know. There will not soon again be another Kennedy president. Ted’s own run in 1980, when he managed to lose to the inept Jimmy Carter, was as stunning an act of negative talent as Bill Simon’s loss of the California governorship to a deeply unpopular Gray Davis in 2002.
“Last year was another terrible one for the Kennedys, showing again that even unblemished young faces can’t survive the burden of creaking ideas. RFK’s son Max announced in Massachusetts for Congress, but stumbled so badly in his very first outings that he quickly pulled out to save further embarrassment. Kennedy-in-law Andrew Cuomo of New York shot himself in the foot with a feral attack on George Pataki, and then ran a campaign so abysmal that the Clintons had to put it out of its misery before he had a chance to lose in the primary. Mark Shriver (Maria’s brother), an attractive young man with an unspotted record, could not make his case to primary voters in Maryland, who knocked off his bid for Congress. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, whose public career began with essays that showed promise of the kind of tough mind and curious spirit that made her father so interesting, ended with a disastrous run for the governor’s mansion in Maryland as a conventional party-line liberal, in thrall to fringe causes and interest groups. By 2003, the sole remnants of the Kennedy dynasty were Ted Kennedy in the Senate (in his forty-first year) and in the House, his younger son, Patrick, from whom no one expects a bright future.”

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